Carpi’s City Theater, fifty years young
A Carpi (Emilia) tour guide from 1875 stated, “Between two colossal buildings, the Castle and the Palace, the new city theater was never dwarfed, as you might have expected. In fact, it stands out with its pleasant garden on three sides, which is not large but – thanks to the zeal of its past directors – is able to provide the population with a nice place to meet and take a walk, season after season.”
Although its delicate emphasis might be a little old-fashioned, the description of this part of Carpi’s charming city center would still work today, one hundred and fifty years after publication.
It hints to the “new” City Theater – built by architect Claudio Rossi between 1857 and 1860 in Neoclassic style, with interior decorator Giuseppe Ugolini’s stuccos and allegories. At the time, the building was just a little over ten years old, as it had been inaugurated in 1861 with a performance of Verdi’s “Rigoletto”. Most importantly, it was “new” compared to the other nearby theater, which dated back to the first half of the 17th century and was located in the Pio Palace (the castle now next to the new Theater).
Over a century and a half after that “Rigoletto”, Carpi’s City Theater has welcomed actors and opera singers from the whole world – from Eleonora Duse to Beniamino Gigli and from Umberto Orsini to Luciano Pavarotti. It stands unscathed by time, and still brings masterpieces of dance, prose, classical music, musical and cabaret to its stage.
Perhaps that is what keeps it so “new”, at the young age of one hundred and fifty.